Some Fire Hydrants of Japan

The hydrants presented here were photographed in various locations throughout Japan. The nation has long had a domestic fire hydrant industry, and the designs below are all from Japanese manufacturers. Early Japanese models were sometimes based on existing designs from other nations, as seen in the hydrant from Hakodate.

We welcome contributions to this photo feature. If you have photographs of hydrants from Japan, please E-mail us.

For the most complete collection of Japanese hydrant photographs, visit Seiji Takeda's Web site:

Also see Kazuko Matsuda's Japanese language world hydrant site.

(Select English, then "Fire Hydrant" from the "Gallery Line" drop down menu.)

Special thanks to the photographers listed on this page for the information they provided for the text.


This is the oldest Japanese hydrant we know of. It is located in front of the historic Nara National Museum. The Museum itself was built in 1895, but information about the date of the hydrant is unknown. The ball atop the bonnet may have been for tying horses.
Photo © 2001 Takehiro Adachi


The vintage and manufacturer of this hydrant are unknown, but it conforms to the current Japanese practice of specifying two 65mm hose outlets which both have independent valves. The plugged pipe at the bottom left may be to pump out the hydrant after use. A similar scheme was used on Hamar hydrants made in Iceland. Photo © 2001 Takehiro Adachi


Here is a current model fire hydrant manufactured in Tokyo by Yokoi Mfg, Ltd. Photo © 2001, Yokoi Mfg Ltd.


Another modern specification Japanese hydrant, this one manufactured by Maezawa Industries, also of Tokyo. Photo © 2001 Colin Maseca

Hakodate, Hokkaido

After a large fire in Hakodate City in 1934, it was decided that the water infrastructure needed to be modernized, including the hydrants. Until this point, hydrants were of the below ground type, meaning that they were buried during heavy snowfall, and difficult to find during a fire emergency. Someone from the city traveled to the U.S.A. to survey the fire hydrant systems there and the unique hydrant at left is the result. It's outward appearance may have been based on the Race & Mathews design manufacturered by R.D. Wood Co. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Photo © 2001 Junji Kakimoto


(right) Snow Hydrant?
This hydrant has what appears to be an integral flag holder; a flag would help locate it during snow accumulations. Manufacturer unknown.
Photo © 2001 Takehiro Adachi

Matsudai, Niigata prefecture

(far right) Deep Snow Hydrant. This design by Kitagawa Iron Works overcomes deep snow by standing more than 6 feet tall. The hydrant has two operating nuts. The nut about half way up is for normal operation, while the second nut atop the hydrant is available during heavy snowfall when much of the barrel of the hydrant is buried. Photo © 2001 Amparo Bertram


A contact at Sakura-Rubber, a manufacturer whose product line includes fire hose, had offered to send us some hydrant photos from Tokyo. As he discovered, most of the hydrants in his area of the city are either below ground or wall mounted. Shown here is a detail from the locked cover of a below ground hydrant on the streets of Tokyo.
Photo © 2001 Hiroshi Nakamura

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